Published by Mazi Collins on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. 7:10 AM

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu after Abuja courts session

ABUJA— Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, today, proceeded to deliver ruling on whether or not to allow masked witnesses testify against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and three other defendants joined in the suit.

Recall that on the previous court sitting of 1st December, the Prosecution to the Federal government had through an application, obliged the court to allow its witnesses testify behind the scenes, claiming that their lives are being threatened.

He also prayed the court to give pseudo names to the witnesses, saying that this will ensure their safety and willingness to testify against the defendants.

Just like Biafrans predicted, Justice Nyako who arrived the court premises at 1:07 pm to rule over the application for the allowance of masked witnesses and initiation of a secret trial has finally yielded to Buhari's will.

The case kicked off ceremoniously with the introduction of SAN Chuks Muoma who appeared for the first defendant, Nnamdi Kanu, followed by the introduction of the rest of his team, Barrister Innocent Adoga who appeared for the 2nd defendant, then El Eseme for the 3rd and then Barrister Maxwell Okpara for the 4th.

Before proceeding to hear the case, SAN Chuks Muoma told the court that his client Nnamdi Kanu is not medically fit to stand for too long and as such should be permitted to sit down.

Justice Nyako in response to the plea demanded that Chuks Muoma should state the health challenges of the 1st defendant who he said should be seated down, and he answered that Kanu has a health issue which he is currently being treated for in prison and wouldn't want him to collapse in the dock. Binta thereafter granted their plea and proceeded to give her verdict on the application to allow masked witnesses, filed by the federal government of Nigeria.

Unsurprisingly, justice Binta ruled that the witnesses will appear with pseudo names and will be shielded from the eye of the public. In other words, there will be a secret trial to allow the witnesses air their testimony without fear according to her.

She buttressed her point by saying that in some circumstances under section 36(6) of the 1999 constitution, witnesses are allowed to conceal their identity. She held that the court will be able to see their witnesses, but it will be restricted to the representatives of both parties.

Justice Binta then went on to order both counsels to come to court on Thursday so as to see how the screening/shielding of the said witnesses will be done. She added that the court is going to be arranged in such a way that only the defendants and the defense counsels will be able to see the witnesses.

But Nnamdi Kanu in quick response to her preposterous ruling, made an outburst and thundered in amazement without fear by saying "do i look like a fool to you? I won't take this. Buhari accused  me in public and, the trial must be open to all, I won't accept this."

Nnamdi Kanu went on raging in anger, while SAN Chuks Muoma tried to calm him down to no avail. Maxwell Okpara appearing for the fourth defendant said his client couldn't be a party to this new development of public not being allowed to see the witnesses.

The judge who without regard or concern for the feelings of Kanu and others went on to ask the other defense counsels if they agree to her ruling and Eseme responded that his client vehemently refused and concluded that anything short of public trial is not acceptable by him.

Without further consideration, Justice Binta maintained that her verdict stands and that the defense counsels and their clients will be allowed to see the witnesses, but members of the court will not see them, adding that this is her court and whatever she says will stand whether they like it or not.

Provoked by Binta's ruling, the second accused, Benjamin accused her of playing Buhari's script, but Binta in retaliation threatened to take drastic measures against him if he doesn't take his time.

Nnamdi Kanu at the same time regurgitated yet again in anger and said that there will be no screening of witnesses, no pseudo names and no shielding of witnesses, asking further if the federal high court is now a sharia court. Binta who at the time looked undaunted despite her ludicrous ruling finalised that her ruling stands.

Muoma then requested the court to adjourn the case to 14th of February, but the defendants objected to it; Binta then said that the court closes next week, 20th Dec, and the court will be having a conference on 19th and will shut down on 20th of Dec, 2016. She then proceeded to adjourn the case to 10th, 11th and 12th of January 2017.

Chukwuemeka Chimerue, 
Anyikwa Cynthia And Ejike Ofoegbu
Reporting Live From Abuja
For Biafra Writers



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